The Fall


Jan 21 2011, 19h42

Damon Albarn does it again—gets bored and makes another album, this one another Gorillaz album, a fan club-only Gorillaz album. I welcome Mr. Albarn’s boredom. Still, I never really understood the appeal of fan clubs, especially nowadays. Either way, there’s a free stream of the full album on Only fan club members, however, get to straight-up download it. I mean, why not offer the free download to everyone? I mean, since this is the decade of the leaked/free album? Whatever, onto the album.

A punchy, repetitive bass line and danceable beat start us off thinking we’re about to hear Annie Lennox croon Sweet Dreams. Instead, the beat goes on without a word, only occasional keyboard noodling on top on Phoner To Arizona. Revolving Doors takes us elsewhere with its island-aura guitar and—what’s this—Damon’s voice. It’s nice to hear from you again, Damon.

Not necessarily so on HillBilly Man. It starts off like any other Gorillaz song until suddenly, halfway through the song, a distorted voice starts mumbling “Hillbilly hillbilly hillbilly man” and I’m not sure why. It’s like Damon suddenly decided, midway through, this was going to be a chopped and screwed rap song hook, only with extra studio effects. It’s kind of catchy though, by the second listen.

If only the remainder of the album were noteworthy. Bobby Womack returns on Bobby In Phoenix, and that should be memorable, right? But it isn’t. He was a big reason for the success of Stylo off their last album, but so were his dramatic vocals and the shock of hearing him alongside Albarn, Mos Def, and a catchy, danceable Gorillaz beat. Here, it’s just Bobby, some generic blues, and boring synth.

The only other memorable moment on the album is the end, Seattle Yodel. The hell, Albarn? Yodeling? Only you would make us have to ask that. So on second thought, I think I understand why he gave us the fan club treatment with this. If you loved it, you’re probably already a member of the fan club. If you didn’t, you’ll probably just blame for yourself for being curious enough to check it out. Well, it worked, Damon. I’m still going to obsessively hunt down each and every new Blur, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, Blur, or Gorillaz album he delivers.

Favorite Tracks: Phoner to Arizona, Revolving doors, Hillbilly Man

Rating: 2.7/5 Stars


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